Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Weekend!!!!


Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Enjoy the long Holiday Weekend!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Cracker




I have never really thought about Christmas Crackers. I see them in the store- but have never even looked to see what they contain.
Watching Bridget Jones's Diary the other night I got to thinking about the tissue paper crowns she and her dad are wearing. After some research they are one of the surprises found inside the christmas cracker.



Noted from Wikipedia....

Christmas crackers, known as bon-bons in Australia, are an integral part of British Christmas celebrations. It consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).
The person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket; and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a scrap of paper. Crackers are often pulled after Christmas dinner or at parties.

If DIY is for you then here's a link you have to check out! not martha

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Advent Calendar


It's almost time to start the Christmas count down. I need to get my advent cards in the mail so the little ones have them for December 1.


Here is a fun Link to help count down the days!


A bit of Advent History

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Me and Miles



Thanksgiving Eve!

Holiday



The Macy's Parade is on tomorrow at 9am- everywhere-

Happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Where?

Sorry I haven't been around for a bit. I feel boring and like there is not much to write about. I don't have any fun projects going on. All the rain we have been getting has me in a cave.

I did carve a spooky pumpkin for halloween.



And I did get out for some halloween fun-



And I did make Miles take our annual halloween photo together- where he's a dog and I'm a cat-



I guess there has been a little going on!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Winter Brews and Beaujolais Nouveau's

Shopping today after work I noticed the winter brews are out. They have probably been out for a bit but tonight I must of needed one because I noticed them for the first time.
Having not had it before I grabbed a New Belgium's 2 degrees below. Tasty~ a bit more hops than I tend to like but drinkable.

I am excited for the beaujolais nouveau's to be released. Pronounced bo-jo-lay. A regional wine from the town of Beaujolais in the Burgundy region of France. Beaujolais Nouveau (noovo) is a style of Beaujolais released annually on the 3rd Thursday of November. They are the first grapes of the season and the wine is meant to be drunk while it's young. I did hold a bottle over for a year and it was good. They say typically to drink within 6 months

A favorite of mine that I have gotten the past 3 years is from Alexander Valley - New Gewurz-



The white version of the Nouveau Beaujolais. I have only found it at New Season's. It has been fun to taste it over the years. Some years it's sweeter than others, some years more spice.

Main wineries you will find are:

Beringer
George DuBoeuf
Joseph Drouhin
and the Alexander Valley for the white

I wonder what '06 has in store?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tigers!


We may have seen the last of the warm days. It could be like parts of MI and be under 2 feet of snow. I hope the snow doesn't hit Detroit until they are done playing the A's and winning. Not being that big of a baseball fan I have to think of my home and put in some time in front of a few games. It's 3-0- Let's go Tigers.


I haven't done any knitting since my baby hats and a scarf. I've been in the mood to cook. With all the fun wedding gadgets we received it makes cooking easy. I am so glad it's crockpot season- I have a roast going as we speak.

I had ordered some cookie dough from someone at work and baked up some this morning. Pretty quick and easy when you don't have to put any energy into the making the dough.

I need to get serious and start thinking of some christmas gifts. Maybe get going on some knitting nights with friends. That seems to be a motivator. How fun it is to knit and sip on some wine with a good group of gals. Who's in to starting up knit night next month?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Baby hat Model

I hear baby on the way and I get the urge to knit something. I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is having a baby in January. Winter -the perfect time to knit cute new baby clothes. I love knitting baby stuff because in less than a morning you have a cute finished item.

I dusted off the knitting needles last night and started a hat chosen from the Oneskein book. Well after having not knitted all summer and it being night time, that I decided to start this project, I was positive that the pattern was incorrect. Nothing to do with me - this had to be the way the pattern was designed. Had they not knitted this before publishing the book? How could they be off stitches? I tore the hat out 4 times every time saying if I don't get it this time it has to be the patterns fault. What was making me crazy is the first half was perfect and then when I got around to end everything was off and a mess. Finally deciding to call it a night I put down the needles and went to bed.

Determined this morning to outwit the pattern- I sat down to a cup of coffee and some knitting...
The hat consist of 72 stitches broken down into 18 stitch segments... being the knitwit I am I decided to place a marker every 18 stitches so if I messed up I only had the stitches between the markers to find my error. This pattern consist of a lot of YO (yarn overs) - basically you are creating a stitch to make a hole (lacy look) and then k2tog (knit two together) to make up for the stitch you just created- keeping everything balanced and at 18 stitch segments. 12 rows later you have this nice scalloped edged rim for your hat. Moving on to a st st pattern making the body of the hat until it measures 3 1/4 from CO. Then finish up by decreasing until you have 8 stitches left- weave them in and you are done and this is what you have....



My model was not to happy being photographed and after taking the photo instantly jumped up and starting biting at me. I was able to save the hat from being shredded. Was he hungry, over worked, not his color? It's hard to find good help.

I tried another angle but the color is off. No the hat is not orange, but red.



The great thing is I have enough to make another- There a few babies that are going to be born from November- January.

It felt good to knit. Something I hadn't realized I missed until I started up.

Here is a peek at the wedding flowers. I have decided to go with roses and found a great lady at the PSU Farmers market. I have them ordered and ready for pick up in 2 weeks.







This next week is going to fly by. I have a busy busy week at work and a few last minute details for the wedding.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fall's around the corner!


I cannot wait for Fall. Only 18 days. I am not ready for it to be raining every day but I am ready for the crisp coolness that comes first. Sunny yet cool enough for jeans and a long sleeve tee shirt- Perfect.

We are all moved and I have to say I really miss my yard. My cherry tomatoes were in full swing and the peppers were just starting to really produce. I am going to have to get creative because I will have to do a lot more container gardening. I hope it goes well because I didn't feel the lettuce I grew this spring in a container did that great. Maybe I didn't water it enough- I will have to watch that.
In my new yard I did acquire some plants I am not very good at taking care of- roses. The whole front yard is roses. I pruned them today, cut away all the dead and damaged branches. My arms look like I got in to a fight with a cat and man do they burn. I also uncovered an ant hill and a couple of them got in a few bites before I brushed them off. I planted some spinach seeds and I want to try planting garlic. I need to do a little more research on it but I know it's planted in the fall and then in the spring you have nice fresh garlic.

We have until November 1- before our first frost. If you are wondering about your area check out the Farmer's Almanac Site.

Fall is a great time to plant perennials, shrubs, and turf grass. Check out your perennial garden to see if there is anything that didn't make it through the summer or if there is something new you want to add. Planting new stuff isn't always just for the spring time. It's also time to start thinking about the bulbs you want to plant. Get them in the ground in the next month or so. You might have to water for a bit to get them through the early part of fall and if we experience an Indian summer.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hello...

I have taken some time away to move and get settled. I cannot believe my wedding is a month away yesterday. I have a lot to plan so I might not be back until I am a Mrs.
It's late tonight and I don't know what to say so I am going to say Hi to everyone and let you know I miss you and I will have new info and photo's soon.
xo

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Photo catch up

I took these photos a few weeks ago when we were having crazy weather. The evening sky was changing ever few minutes.
Now that I am looking at them they might have been from a couple different nights.











Spooky


The garden is progressing- The pickle cucumbers are done- the cherry tomatoes are covered with green ones and a few that are starting to turn red. There are about 5 or so banana peppers that are about ready to be picked and the jalepeno's are starting to produce.

This is our last weekend before we start to move. It's going to be hard to leave the garden, but hopefully the next people will enjoy and take care of it. I am taking a few things- the blueberries and a few of the perennials I planted. I didn't put many perennials in just for this reason. I planted a lot of veggies and annuals so I wouldn't have to leave anything behind. You cannot take everything with you.

I just heard the hawks that have been hanging around our neighborhood. I saw them yesterday while in the backyard. I am not sure what kind they are. I used to see one in the morning when I would walk Miles but haven't seen him in a while. I think about the little birds I feed. It took me soo long to get them to come to my feeder. Now there won't be any food for them or a bath for them to splash around in.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wow

Things happen so fast. I cannot believe we are going to be moving in a few weeks. I am already in pack mode. Most of the kitchen is packed and slowly things are disappearing into boxes. Fill a few boxes here and there and then you are moving. Once at the new house I will stay up late and get up early and all will be put away in a few days. I spent tonight cutting back the yard. The lemon verbena that has crept up in every corner has been cut down. I wish we were moving in the spring when the yard is green and the bulbs are blooming then our landlords would see how well we took care of the yard. As it is we are moving while the grass is brown and all the plants around the yard are dead looking and dry. It's just not the season for them even if we did water the grass every night and every morning.
While I was walking Miles tonight there was a yard with it's irrigation going. Usually he would go around it but tonight he just walks into it and stands in the middle of the grass letting the water go all over him. I guess he was hot.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Move

We are moving.
We found a place this weekend. After driving around all parts of Portland- and looking at a lot of dumps we found a great place. Just 45 blocks East of where we currently live.
As for Craigslist- I usually don't bother looking at anything if there is not a picture... but a few of the houses sounded so good I figured why not drive by... once getting there I understood why there was no photo. I do have to say that the house we ended up getting did not have a photo???
We are excited. When we first decided to move I was not for it. I love my yard and I love the neighborhood. We just realized that we did not want to have another winter with our landlords, we are done living on an alley and living in a house that needs work done. Our new place is great.... the best thing is it has new windows. I don't think I have lived in a place in OR that has had good windows. Landlords think you are to blame when the windows are moist and moldy...."just turn up your heat", they say - No get some good windows. The landlord is willing to put the time into the house to make it livable- she said if she wouldn't live there why would she expect anyone else to live there. I would like to see our landlords hangout in our house for a bit.
I will send off new address info soon. We should be settled in by the 3rd week of August.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pesto Update

So I didn't use the pesto receipe noted earlier. I went with Betty Crocker's version- which is basically the same just a little less on the pine nuts, cheese and oil. I used my mini prep cuisinart- which I still have thank you Andrea- and it turned out perfect. I whipped up two batches... one I made into a pasta salad with chicken and the other batch is in a jar waiting in the fridge to be turned into something yummy. I was surprised to see a Pesto receipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I cannot imagine my mom or my Grandma making Pesto. I wonder what my Grandpa would think of Pine nuts???

I cannot believe how much I cooked today. It helped getting everything preped this morning. Now we just have to make sure we eat it and it doesn't go to waste.

I forgot to mention I found a huge zuccini on my plant. I shredded it and am going to make some zuccini bread in the next couple of days. One thing bad about summer and all the great fruits and veggies is it's to hot to have the oven on to bake.


While shopping at New Season's today I tried some basil limonade- I wasn't sure if I would like it, but it's so refreshing and good. Here is the receipe

Start with Simple Herb Syrup
2 cups water
2 1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 bunch of fresh herbs- basil, rosemary, thyme

combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain. Transfer to bottle or jar and refrigerate. Keeps for several months. Makes about 3 cups.
adapted from Food Day July 27th, 2004 (The Oregonian)


They had taken a bottle of Santa Cruz organic Limonade and added some of the syrup and some fresh basil as a garnish. It was so good.

I need my plants to grow some more leaves so I can make this. I have a bunch of rosemary but am not sure if I would like it as much. Rosemary is a bit over powering.

Basil= Pesto



Pesto Recipe

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced



Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again.
Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container.
Process basil pesto it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well. Serve over pasta. Basil pesto keeps in refrigerator one week, or freeze for a few months.

This is what I have planned for today, along with making some potato salad. I got some nice new potatoes from the farmers market and need to use them up.

I spent yesterday cleaning up the yard. I mowed the weeds because that is about all that's growing this time of year. I pulled the dead pea plants up and weeded through the veggie garden. It looks kind of bare right now. It's sad because I was planning on planting the cool weather veggies again in August so there would be a batch of stuff to eat in the fall, but I think we are going to be moving. Not quite sure when- it depends on how fast we find a place. We love our house and location- it's our landlords we are not fond of. We figure if we get into a cheaper place then we can start saving some money to buy. We are thinking a townhouse- they seem to be something that is in our price range. First step is to get myself into the bank and see exactly what they will give us so we know where to begin. I have that on my to do list for the next week or so.

Blueberry season is getting close to being over. I was able to go picking twice and have a freezer full of berries for this winter. I'm thinking I need to make a cobbler with the fresh ones in the fridge. I would like to go one more time. It's so fun and so cheap to pick yourself. The place I found is organic so you can eat as many as you want while picking.

Lots of sun in the forecast. I just saw that next weekend it's going to be 100... ugh!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Girls

July 1... sunny gorgeous, farmers market to kick off the day- lots of fruit- blueberries, still cherries, peaches, apricots, and lots of other berries. (going on the 4th to pick blueberries- cannot wait).

Mid afternoon head over to 6 year old birthday party- jump around in balloon Disney castle. Lots of fun, but what a work out. How do kids do it?

Dash off to the zoo for an amazing night with the Indigo Girls. First I had to work (the reason I was there)- did a wine tasting from 5-7pm- wrapped up grabbed a burger, a bottle of Clay Station Pinot Gris and found my friends in the lawn that had been saving me a space. Settled in while the opening band played and then the night started with "Closer to Fine" and ended with "Galileo". What an evening. They are so amazing just the two of them, their guitars, and the great outdoors.

Thanks ya'll!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Male/ Female


So I am having trouble with my zucchini plant. I think of it as the plant that will produce fruit no matter what, but I am finding that is not the case. I have gotten one zucchini off from it and one tiny one the size of my pinkie finger that turned yellow on the end and started drying up. I went on line to see if I could find some answers and found out something that I thought was pretty interesting.

Zucchinis have male and female flowers and the male flowers are usually the first to appear and will not produce fruit.
You can tell whether a flower is male or female by the presence of a small swelling at the base of the flower. The swelling will turn into a full-on fruit. If there is no swelling, and only a prickly stem is present, this is a male flower. Pick them off for eating -- they're great in salads or lightly braised with red sweet peppers -- or leave them intact. Removal of male flowers will not affect fruit formation. (which I think is odd why do they produce male and female flowers if they are not needed for fruit production?)



I don't want my zucchini to grow that big but to have some grow would be nice.

They also say not to water from overhead which is the same for tomatoes and probably every other fruit/ veggie out there. It seems odd that when it rains they are getting watered from overhead and that doesn't seem to matter. I am to lazy to set up my soaker hose and to tell you the true I was not that impressed with it last year. I don't have time to stand in the garden and water everything from below. I am putting the over head sprinkler on the yard in the morning. It's nice because it hits the whole yard. It makes for an easier time watering and I would think that would mean for happier plants.

On the other hand my pickle cucumbers that are growing in the same space as the Zucchini have a pickle on the end of every flower. I cannot believe how well they are doing. They are climbing nicely up my bamboo pyramid- They are tiny, but still I have lots of them.

so I am off to see how many prickly stems I have or how many swelling stems I have. Do I need an ultra-sound machine as well. No wonder people think they don't have a green thumb....

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm Going

I got a ticket to Wicked!!!! Well actually a girl from my book club got me a ticket. I spent an hour last night on line trying to get tickets. At ticket master I needed a password, well I didn't have the password and didn't know how to get the password. I spent a good part of the morning before 9am trying to get tickets on line, through the box office and then finally on the phone. Finally found out tickets didn't go on sale until 9am. Freaking out at 9:30 that I missed the 9am selling time I begin looking for tickets. The box office cannot sell them over the phone, Ticket Master phone number is busy or a nice recording telling me they are receiving to many calls at this time and to try back another time. Do they think that makes you feel better than hearing a busy signal? The internet ticket master could not find any tickets available for any of the shows at any price. I finally did find two tickets for a Thursday show at 2pm. No wonder that one was open everyone is working. Book club gal said hold off I have a route to try. She called me back and got to tickets to the Saturday September 16th 2pm show. We are going. I am so glad we did not wait around. I cannot believe how fast the tickets went. It is going to be so great.
Two great things to look forward to in September. The summer just began and I am ready for September.

This weekend is going to be tuff... 90 degrees all weekend. I just bought a window fan that sucks the hot air out and then at night you can suck in the cold air. Lets hope it cools off at night.

Tomorrow.... PSU farmers market...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wicked Tickets!



I guess tickets are on sale and I am freaking out. It's coming to the Keller Auditorium in September. I tried to order them from the ticket master website and I needed a password to do so. A gal in my book club said she could buy tickets before they go on sale to the public. I have been trying to reach her and she is not calling me back. Seats I found on line were about $100 and higher. I was thinking the $60 range would be about what I wanted to spend. If she doesn't call me by tomorrow I am calling Keller and getting two tickets.

What a great book. I just finished the second book "Son of a Witch".

Sunday, June 18, 2006

June 21- 3 days until SUMMER


Today in Portland- from the backyard

Summer Solstice
The timing of the summer solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually sometime between June 20 and 22, heralding the beginning of summer. The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice). In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.

All next week it's going to be sunny and in the mid 70's. Sounds Perfect.

Today is the last day for the Strawberry social at Portland Nursery on Division. I went yesterday with my friend Kim. We have went the last two years. We meet up at the Beaverton Farmers market and then headed over there. I found a few treasures I have been wanting. A Calla Lily being one of them. It has spotted leaves and white flowers. It's in a pot on the deck. I hope it likes it there. I have never grown one so we will see.






I think next weekend I am going to go to the PSU farmers market. I drove by it yesterday and it's big. The Beaverton one is still my favorite but it's good to see what else is out there.

I had a new visitor to my yard- a dragon fly- He was hanging out on the tomato cage this morning. Brown, black and light blue. I have not been to close to one and found today that their heads are really pretty ugly. I like seeing them from a distance.


Last weekend Josh played at the Organic Brew Festival- it was held at the World Forestry Center by the Zoo. A few friends and I chilled on the stairs waiting for them to start playing. My favorite beer was the Chocolate Stout - from Bison Brew
It was very very tasty.



Monday, June 12, 2006

The Dog Races

No he's not a Gray Hound



He can knock you down if he hits your knees just right


He's so fast he's a blur




Garden update...

Here are the Radish seedlings





little pickle




Sunday I planted two tomatoes... Sweet Olive and Sweet Million( not sure on the name). They are both cherry tomatoes, 2 Banana Peppers and 1 Jalapeno Pepper. I have not had much luck with peppers but since I decided to hold off on the beans I had some space to fill. I pulled up the last of the beets they didn't do much so I figure why continue to water them. For now everything is looking good. Peas are well under way. They are nice to snack on while hanging out in the yard. The lettuce is almost finished. I have a bag in the fridge and still enough left in the garden for a few more salads. Everything has spaced itself out nice. I haven't wasted that much and have had continue stuff to snack on.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Weather What?

Today is one of those days where you don't want to be far from the house without your rain gear. I am glad I mowed the lawn yesterday.
Between showers I planted some radish seeds. The package says to plant early after last frost. I hope it's not to late. I started some in my wine crate- The lettuce I had in there didn't do so well. I have never grown lettuce. I guess you are suppose to cut it back when it's little and it will continue to grow. I tried thinning it and from there it went to seed. I think I missed a step. The other crate I didn't thin and it seemed to be growing fine. I just cut it back so we'll see if it comes back. I did have good luck with the butter lettuce. I have so much I gave some to the neighbor girls and the owners of the little store across the street.
I'm debating on planting beans. The package says not to grow them where you grew beans last year. What are you suppose to do when your garden is only so big. What will really happen if I plant them in the same space?
The cucumber I planted about a month ago died so I replaced it and now the replacement has died. What's up with that space? The other one is growing fine and is starting to get big enough I can train it to go up the bamboo pyramid.
The peas are going crazy and should be about ready to harvest the first batch.
The beets are questionable. I haven't pulled any up but the tops are not getting that big and they are kind of sun scorched. I'm debating about pulling up all the early stuff I planted and starting over. Maybe I will hold onto the bean seeds until next year and let the garden have a break from beans. I should use the space for a couple of tomatoes and then in August start another round of spinach and chard for the fall.
Well the sun is out so I should be debating about the garden outside instead of being in the house.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Concordia Neighborhood

While I walked Miles last night I took some photos of what's blooming in the neighborhood. Quite a few trees are in bloom right now.

Most of these photos were taken on Concordia Universities campus...


First signs of Grapes-


Halesia diptera- snowdrop- one of my favorites.


Dogwood
A tree (Cornus florida) of eastern North America, having small greenish flowers surrounded by four large, showy white or pink bracts that resemble petals.



Tulip Tree
A tall, deciduous, eastern North American tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) having large, tuliplike green and orange flowers, aromatic twigs, and yellowish wood that is easily worked. Also called poplar.



easy to identify when not in bloom- leaves look like tulips.




Sweet Gum
Genus Liquidambar. There are four species of sweetgums, all large, deciduous trees, 25-40 m tall, with palmately lobed leaves- I was having a hard time finding the name of this tree. Being familiar with it because I like the palmate leaves- the only thing I could think of was Palmaceous-well those are palm trees... finally I found them in my Western Garden book.



Sweet Gum Fruit- I missed the flower stage.



I even found strawberry plants.



Finally ending in the front yard- here is the little shade garden I made this spring.